1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Skull Splitter - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
Skull SplitterSkull Splitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,820 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,820
Reviews: 926
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 12.75%
Wants: 135
Gots: 139 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Orkney Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-08-1998)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Skull Splitter Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 1,820 | Reviews: 926 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A smooth drinking scotch ale, smooth medium plus mouthfeel. Muted smoke and fruit flavour. Appropriately average carbonation. Sweet malty finish. More drinkable than the style, more muted flavour. Good lacing. Alcohol spice aroma. Alcohol sledgehammer afterwards.

Sammy, Sep 17, 2006
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -2%

t0rin0, Dec 05, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best before 7/2014.

Pours a murky brown with a 1/2 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, dark fruits, burnt caramel/toffee, and some herbal hop aromas. Taste is of malt, burnt caramel, dark fruit, and some earthy, herbal hop flavors. There is an alcohol kick and a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty but fairly strong.

UCLABrewN84, Aug 11, 2012
Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

djrn2, Mar 02, 2013
Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -2%

zestar, Sep 13, 2014
Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

spycow, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of nmann08
3/5  rDev -26.5%

nmann08, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is slightly hazy copper in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high creamy beige head that quickly settled down leaving a thin layer of bubbles that consistently covered the surface.
S: There are moderate aromas of dark fruits in the nose and notes of malty sweetness.
T: The overall taste is rather sweet and has flavors of dark fruits along with notes of molasses and hints of caramel. There are some hints of spices in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a light to moderate amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel is rather light compared to other beers in this style.
O: The beer is quite flavorful and very easy to drink because the alcohol is well masked from the taste. It is a good representation of the style.

metter98, Mar 25, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a reasonably clear ice tea colored body with a nice beige head that hangs around for the duration and leaves good lacing

Smell: Smells like raisins, biscuits, caramel and rubber bands

Taste: Tastes rather sweet on the front end with a caramel raisin flavor; mid-palate is when things start to happen, as peaty, smokey flavors builds up to an overwhelming level and creates a very complex finish that meshes with the caramel malt flavors

Mouthfeel: Mediium-heavy body with modest carbonation

Drinkability: A complex and enjoyable Wee Heavy

brentk56, Jan 17, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark reddish bronze with orange peel accents. The beer itself is clear, but is filled with a large number of chunky particulates that one doesn't usually see in this style (at least I don't). Atop the liquid is a moderate-sized, toasted tan head of sticky foam that is deposits a short, thick collar of lace with a few scraps higher up the glass.

The nose is nice even if it isn't quite as complex as the noses on the very best versions. Dark butterscotch, sour peat and whisky are the main components. I don't believe it's quite as dark as some Scotch ales; there's very little cocoa or molasses for instance.

There's plenty of flavor and plenty of power, but it still strikes me as a bit short on complexity. This is still very good beer however. The flavor profile is essentially a reprise of the nose. It's both sweet and sour (bitter appears on the finish), delivering a big, malty, whiskyish flood of goodness with each mouthful. Nuance is cast aside for power and strength, as it should be in a beer named SkullSplitter.

It becomes smoother and still more peaty, phenolic even, with warming. This beer is starting to remind me of Islay Scotch due to the emerging medicinal phenols (think Band-Aids, but in a good way). The finish is long and lingering, the better to savor the flavor, and the medium-full body has a pleasing, mouthcoating lubricity.

SkullSplitter is aptly named. It isn't a 'float like a butterfly, sting like a bee' kind of beer, but more of a 'rush the bastard and plant an axe between his eyes' kind of beer. That isn't entirely fair, it's more refined than that, but it is on the straightforward end of the Scotch ale spectrum. This is a beer that I'll be sure to look for again.

BuckeyeNation, Feb 26, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another strong and malty beer. Has a lot of Dopplebock characteristics with it. Aromas of molassas and malt. Flavors of the same with deep figs, dates, and raison flavors. Perhapse some chocolate and smoke flavor added. Light bittering from roasted grains. Though good flavors, it has a burned flavor to me that is a bit harsh and unpleasant. The alcohols remain sweet and tame for an 8.5%er. Alcohols become a bit sherry-like and didn't completely agree with style. Stays creamy and heavy. A good winter warmer.

BEERchitect, Nov 07, 2005
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -2%

kjkinsey, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.59/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a clear amber color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma consists of deep caramelized malt with lightly sweet undertones and light toffee notes. Taste is also a mix between some caramelized malt notes with some toffee notes and a dry aftertaste. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed and quite enjoyable though overall dryer then I had expected.

Phyl21ca, Feb 19, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -2%

GRG1313, Mar 17, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was superb, a really well crafted beer that I waited far too long to try. Finally got around to buying a single of this one tonight while I was on my trip up to knoxville and I was not dissapointed. Poured a very nice deeep dark brown with an ample two inch head of off white foamy lace on top. This had some very nice retention and left behind about a half inch of frothy white foam on the top when it was done. Very nice side glass lace as well. The smell was nice, although I have to say a little on thel ight side. A nice sweet caramel like aroma mixed in with ample earthy grains made for a full aroma, just a little light. The taste was really smooth. for 9%abv this was remarkable in that you could pick up none of the alcohol. It had a medium to full body that had a great creamy feel to it. Great flavors of caramel with a touch of grassy hops and a decent bread like back. It had a noticable nuttiness to it as well. Overall this was a very very nice beer and something I know I will go back to. It was just so rediculously smooth, I really could have had four or five of them, thugh I am sure it would have caught up to me before then. Really a great treat and something I would have to highly recommend.

mikesgroove, Nov 10, 2007
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

ygtbsm94, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

jaydoc, Dec 28, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

kylehay2004, Dec 10, 2013
Photo of Knapp85
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours out as a beautiful redish brown color with a good head to start then it card off just to leave a little white film over top of the beer. The smell is semi sweet with some malts dominating the aroma with a bit or caramel. The taste is sweet too with some caramel flavors through out. The mouthfeel is pretty smooth and not overly carbonated. It's a stronger beer too coming in at 8.5%. Overall I enjoy this beer quite a bit, probably one of my favorite Scottish beers I've ever had. I look forward to having this every time I get the chance. Really worth checking out!

Knapp85, May 27, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11 ounce bottle - $2.79 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark reddish-brown body with a smallish, off-white head.

Smell: Sweet-smelling, peat-laden nose with notes of caramel, chocolate, vinous fruits, and cooked sugars.

Taste: Pale malts stirred up with pleasingly, sweet tastes of dark caramel, sugar-coated peat, brown sugar, and milk chocolate. Slightly warming alcohol presence; sure, it's noticeable, but it's not ever glaring. Raisiny fruitiness. Mildly spicy hops and bitterness. Finishes semi-dry with an enduring taste of candied fruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Slightly sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A nice, satisfying, sweet-tasting brew. It had been some years since I last had one and shame on me for letting it go so long, really.

ChainGangGuy, Mar 07, 2009
Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Very appetizing amber colored beer with rich creamy head.Raisin-like aroma to it,kinda porty in taste to me with some dried fruit in there,alchol was prevalent ecspecially when it began to warm.Something to drink before bedtime.Really nice liked it alot.

oberon, Mar 18, 2003
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -2%

JAHMUR, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a plastic tumbler.

Another old favorite from back in the day finally getting revisited. It pours a clear sunset amber topped by about a finger or so of off-white foam. The nose comprises caramel, buttery biscuits, light toffee, and orange peel. The taste doesn't deviate one bit from the sell. Period. Fair enough. The body is a straight medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a somewhat drying finish. Overall, a solid Scotch ale, but somehow not as good as I remember it being back in the day.

TMoney2591, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -2%

SocalKicks, Jun 22, 2013
Photo of zeff80
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a burgandy/brown color with a fluffy, tan, three-finger head. Left some traces of lace.

S - It smelled of malt and spices.

T - It was spicy and had a burnt toast malt. There was also a dried fruit taste.

M - It was smooth and crisp with a warm alcohol presence. A medium to heavy-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good beer, but it would be hard to have a couple in one sitting. I've just been having one at a time.

zeff80, Aug 27, 2007
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 1,820 ratings.